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Monday, March 11, 2013

For the next two weeks, I will be following Tracie Miles on her marriage challenge. Tracie has a gift for cutting to the heart of the problem. I followed her 10 day stress detox followed by her book, Stressed Less Living. Prepare to be changed.

Marriage Challenge Kickoff: PREPARE YOUR HEART

The randomly drawn winner of Friday’s giveaway of the book The Man Whisperer is
Linda who posted on March 8, 2013 at 11:57 am. If this is you, email me your address!
Several years ago I was at the hair salon and a young girl in the chair beside me spent thirty minutes excitedly talking about her wedding.
Oh yes, she had everything picked out. She explained to her hairdresser, in great detail I might add, what her wedding dress looked like, the color and style of the bridesmaids dresses, what the groomsmen were wearing, the flowers, the cake, the music, the guest lists, etc.
None of this seemed out of the ordinary for a bride-to-be, filled with excitement and anticipation about the most special day of her life. Until I heard her exclaim as she was leaving the salon, that as soon as she could find a man to marry her, everything would be perfect.   Huh?
You see, she had spent months, maybe years, planning for the wedding, but had given little, if any, thought to the reality of actually being married.  She seemed oblivious to the fact that marriage is a life time commitment, not one fairy tale day, and unfortunately, I believe that many brides set out in their new marriages with the same misconception.
As a glowing bride, we are in love, we have overlooked our fiances faults, we envision a life of bliss and mutual happiness, and look forward to our spouse meeting all of our needs while we pour our love upon him every day….only soon to discover that marriage is nothing like we expected.  Not to say that there aren’t wonderful, happy and fulfilling days in marriage, but when we expect all of our needs to be met by our husbands, and fail to acknowledge that our husband may also expect us to meet all his needs,  we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
So many times, when disappointment hits hard, women keep their marriage problems hidden inside their hearts, fearing what other people will think if they found out.  They think they are the only one with problems, and that everyone else’s marriage is just fine. What a tragedy that is, when so many marriages are hurting, and so many women desperately need a shoulder to lean on and someone to pray for them.
That is why I am so excited that nearly one thousand women have committed to walking through this 14 day Marriage Challenge with me, because marriage is hard work and we need each other for love and support, and there is power and strength in knowing that we are not alone.
So let’s get our minds in the right place as we pray about moving forward, by thinking back to when you first met your husband. Try to recall the feelings that you held in your heart, and the tingles that spread through your body whenever he called you, kissed you, or did something super sweet. Then reflect on your wedding day, and consider all of the thoughts that were running through your mind on that very special day. Maybe you’ve been married a long time, and it’s hard to think back that far, so ask God to bring memories to mind that you may have forgotten.
I bet you would agree that, just like that young girl in the salon, as you stood in your beautiful wedding gown staring into the eyes of your soon-to-be-husband and reciting heart felt vows meant to last a lifetime, that you were not thinking about things such as: dirty underwear and socks on the floor in the bathroom, razor stubble, nights out with the guys, hurtful secrets, dirty dishes, dirty floors, dirty diapers, snotty noses, long hours at the office, heated arguments , discouragement, and restless nights of trying to keep the pillows strategically placed in the center of the bed so that your man cannot get anywhere near you – am I right?!  And in the worst cases, no bride expects infidelity or pornography to painfully divide the relationship and cause a deep sense of betrayal and emptiness.
Despite all that may have happened, God is the only one who can fill that spot in our hearts that feels empty, needy and alone, especially when we are not getting the affection or love from our husbands that we so desire. God is the only One who can help us find peace, in the middle of a stormy relationship and He is the only Way to find the strength and desire to persevere in our marriage, especially when we feel like throwing in the white towel of defeat.
Unfortunately, today’s culture thinks marriage is a disposable commodity, rather than a covenant to treasure. But this mindset can be changed – one saved marriage at a time. God is the only who has the power to full restore what has been broken.
Sweet sister, whether your marriage is going along great, feeling a little stale, or on the brink of divorce, my prayer is that God will work miracles in your heart, your husband’s heart, and your marriage as we seek Gods wisdom and intervention through the challenges we will embark on over the next few weeks.  I believe with all my heart that God desires to see each one of us enjoy the joy and love that marriage is intended to bring, and that no matter what our problems are, our God is bigger.
The first daily challenge will be posted tomorrow, March 12th. But I want to encourage you to begin praying now about what God will speak to your spirit in the coming weeks. Prepare your spiritual ears to hear His voice, and open your heart to feel and see Him at work in you, your husband, and your marriage. Pray for humility if God steps on your toes, courage to walk in love, and grace for when you try and stumble. There is no guaranteed fix for any relationship, but with God, anything is possible.
We’re in this journey together friends. Let’s get our hearts ready for something incredible.

Special note: Over the next few weeks, my prayer is to offer tools, thought provoking insight and biblical support for improving your marriage and witnessing the power of God working in your heart and your relationship. However,  in many unfortunate situations, women are abused emotionally, verbally or physically, and any kind of mistreatment such as this is not blessed by God and certainly not biblical.  God does not expect anyone to endure this type of treatment and it is never deserved or justified.  If you find yourself in such a situation or you feel threatened or harmed in any way, please consider contacting your pastor or Christian counselor for advice immediately. You can also send a prayer request to ourProverbs 31 prayer team.

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